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McInnes calls into question plans to centralise SFRS headquarters

November 19, 2015 3:10 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP has today raised serious concerns over plans to further centralise the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) by moving its HQ to Cambuslang.

In March 2015, the SFRS Board voted to establish its new headquarters in Kildean Business Park, Stirling, a decision subject to ministerial approval.

Following ministerial requests for alternative options to be investigated, the Scottish Government has approved proposals to relocate the headquarters to Cambuslang, blaming continuing austerity measures.

It is understood that the SFRS Chief Officer has informed all staff of the decision today.

Commenting after the announcement Ms McInnes said:

"By overruling the preferred option of the fire board, the SNP administration continues along its path to centralise all of Scotland's essential public services. We were repeatedly told by ministers that they wouldn't interfere and that it would be for the national fire and police boards and chiefs to decide the location of their headquarters.

"The decision on where the principal offices are cannot be based solely upon how cost-effective the location is and the SNP has to stop pointing fingers and pushing the blame elsewhere. We've heard enough.

"In the very criteria laid out by ministers in determining where the headquarters could be based, the Scottish Government said the SFRS should 'not seek to centralise all common functions in one HQ location'. This is exactly what they are now trying to do.

"This is just another example of the SNP government centralising services that ought to maintain a national footprint across the whole country. We all know how well that has gone in the past."